Infographic Explores Shakespeare's Relationship With the Supernatural

Kirstin Fawcett
iStock / iStock

From Macbeth’s cackling, spell-conjuring Weird Sisters to the mischievous fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s plays often use magic to introduce plot twists, manipulate characters, and usher in surprising conclusions. Still, the supernatural was feared during the Bard’s lifetime, and rulers passed laws, statutes, and warnings forbidding the practice of sorcery.

This is what inspired Oxford University Press to create the infographic below. The chart takes a look at how real-life officials addressed (and punished) supposed witchcraft during the 16th century, and also explores how Shakespeare incorporated these frowned-upon supernatural themes into his work. Here are tons of fright-filled facts about England's most famous playwright, and the period in which he lived.

[h/t OUPblog]